The Fourth of July holiday heralds the height of summer — the time to hit the beach and fire up the grill. But it also provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on what is means to be an American—who we really are. The United States is in large part a country of immigrants and the residents who live at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston reflect the rich diversity of the immigrant experience.
As children we may look up to our fathers as superheroes. As we age, we realize our fathers are not invincible, but human with their own personal stories of how they overcame the most difficult challenges in their own lives. The Bussgang men, including NewBridge on the Charles resident Julian, and his father, Jozef (now deceased), survived many challenges in their lives. Julian’s own son, Jeff, applied that same determination to succeed and achieve many accomplishments in his life as well.
Professor Anna Ornstein stood at the front of the room to help frame an extraordinary day at Hebrew SeniorLife. In her presence were eleven wounded Israeli soldiers who had been on the front lines of battleserving their country.
The creative arts are a way of life for the many resident artists who live in Hebrew SeniorLife’s independent living community at Orchard Cove. Our residents are always seeking new ways to stay active, keep social and remain creatively engaged. A variety of research documents show the value of creative stimulation to enhance cognition, improve wellness and foster interaction between seniors.
In this season of graduations, I was privileged to attend the ceremony honoring Boston-based Hebrew SeniorLife’s Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program’s class of 2015. I was moved by the depth of compassion and humility expressed by the graduates as they shared reflections on their experiences as CPE students. Their stories poignantly illustrated what it means to be part of a faith-based organization.
“Aging in Place” is an often-used phrase in senior services. Many senior product and service companies have designed their offerings around this concept. At Hebrew SeniorLife, we have adopted a somewhat different philosophy – “seniors living their best life in the right place at the right time”—that we consider to be a step beyond aging in place.
Early on many Friday mornings at NewBridge on the Charles, resident Roz Holt can be found in the lobby waiting for her daughter, Judy Klein, to arrive from her home in Canton so they can start their rounds of special deliveries to friends and neighbors throughout the campus. When Judy’s small van pulls up, she begins to carry in her loaves of homemade challah, still warm and fragrant from the oven.
“Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender older people who fought the first battles for equality now face so much fear of discrimination, bullying and abuse that many are hiding their lives to survive. Thousands are dying earlier than their straight counterparts because they are isolated and afraid to ask for help.” This quote was excerpted from the movie Gen Silent, a film by Stu Maddox.
When new residents arrive at Orchard Cove, members of the Coffee Klatch typically appear at their doorstep as a welcome wagon into the community. The Coffee Klatch is known to residents of Orchard Cove as the place to meet new faces and make new friends. For club members, it’s more than just a cup of coffee and a chance to catch up. The club exemplifies the efforts of residents and staff to maintain a sense of community and makes Orchard Cove a welcoming place for all.